Milton POST gallery
Joe Wilson & Chanelle Collier
Residency: Milton Post Office Building
As a continuance of work completed at the Cité Internationale Des Arts, Paris, Joe Wilson and Chanelle Collier took residency in the Milton Post Office building, NSW, Australia. Empty rooms and derelict areas became spaces to deploy objects, painting surrogates, and transfers on linen; combining works made at the Cite des Arts shown, in their open studio exhibition ‘Puncture’ (See Below), and works made and sent by post to the former premises of Mils Gallery, Sydney – ‘Post Gallery’ (See Below); Wilson and Collier also used the opportunity to utilise the working post office in Milton to send a duplicate set of print-transfers to Berlin, the current residence of Mils Gallery director Adriano Rosseli.
Joe Wilson & Chanelle Collier
15 Randle St. Surry Hills. 2010
October - January 2018 - 2019
Developed as part of their Paris residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts, France, Joe Wilson & Chanelle Collier’s Post Gallery is an exhibition that travelled by mail to Mils Gallery, Sydney. Mils has been an abandoned space since it closed in late 2016. A series of 12 image and text transfers on linen have been sent by post to be slipped under the door, randomly scattered on the gallery floor amongst the other unclaimed detritus of letters and junk mail.
The images for Post Gallery have been taken from Guy Debord’s potent film ‘Society of the Spectacle’ (1973). And also, from original source material found in the Debord archive held at the Bibliotheque Nationale de Francais, featuring 20th century magazine and film images detourned by Debord. Detournememt is a strategy of artistic and cultural appropriation, of text and imagery, pioneered by members of the Situationist International (SI) from the 1950’s – 70’s; a form of corrective rewriting that resists the valourisation of historical documents by resisting the ownership of intellectual property.
Post Gallery self-references the practical form of organising and delivering an exhibition, where amongst the 12 transfers sent to Mils Gallery is also the exhibition proposal, room sheet, and exhibition layout. Wilson and Collier make a comment about access by illegitimately occupying the physical ghost of the gallery.
Open Studio 2030
Joe Wilson & Chanelle Collier
Friday Sept 7th, 7 - 9pm
Joe Wilson & Chanelle Collier deliberately combined the function of their studio living space with its function as an atelier and makeshift gallery through an aesthetic ordering of artworks and everyday objects within the Cité des Arts apartment. This presentation is partly home décor in its significance to a sense of belonging and agency; and also, part territorialisation, where hanging flags claim the domain. Wilson & Collier utilise relational distinctions between art and life to think about boundaries, as border and threshold, to develop visual means that either punctuate or puncture these contextual frames.
Cité Internationale des Arts
18 Rue de Hotel de Ville, 75180
Building B, 3rd Floor, Studio 2030
For Puncture, open studio 7th September, Joe Wilson & Chanelle Collier deliberately combined the function of their studio living space with its function as an atelier and makeshift gallery, through an aesthetic ordering of artworks and everyday objects within the Cité Interantionale des Arts apartment. The presentation was partly home décor in its significance to a sense of belonging and agency; and also, part territorialisation where hanging flags claimed the domain. Wilson & Collier utilise relational distinctions between art and life to think about boundaries, as border and threshold, to develop visual means that either punctuate or puncture these contextual frames.
A selection of recognisable art objects such as the ‘flags’ and the ‘thing’ are drawn into the environment of the apartment through visual linkages to other objects that correspond materially and aesthetically by colour and design, such as a tablecloth, napkins, and tea towels. Additionally, aspects of the apartment’s infrastructure, specifically the doors to the wardrobe and the door between two rooms are re-orientated by being rehung or placed into positions that contextually identify them as artworks or as visual supports to the artwork. Once the contents of the wardrobe become revealed they are asked to perform an aesthetic function through placement and ordering that extends the visual context of what constitutes the artwork; to include all spaces and objects in the apartment so that the kitchen table and pantry may be considered active also.
As an ideal creative space, the studio is precursory to the usual mechanisms of the world outside it, including the political, historical, or economic baggage that inherently weighs upon an artwork as an object of communication in the public domain. As a venue of production, the studio is insulated in its capacity for mistakes and errors to occur unnoticed; like an unedited document, it is a thought space of becoming. As a preliminary frame of reference for the works produced there, the studio is an original context where materials can be found at various stages of transformation, making, or deconstruction. The studio is only identifiable as such by the detritus, spillage, and ephemeral evidence of an artist’s labour; beyond this, it is just another room defined by active use. When that use changes into a domestic or gallery setting, rather than a working space, the specification shifts the inherent qualities of the studio aforementioned.
Through the artist’s hand touching, manipulating, and considering, Wilson and Collier take agency over all aspects of the apartment to claim the domain and in so doing also change its function. The manipulation of threshold objects and spaces, that have physically interior and exterior elements, becomes analogous to conceptual thresholds by revealing them. These thresholds are the perforated boundaries that destabilise distinctions between both real and conceptual domains. These distinctions form the contextual frames that determine a spaces function as a studio, living space, or gallery; they determine what is considered to be the artwork and not the artwork; they distinguish how to categorise the work into disciplines such as painting and sculpture. By breaking terms with these categories their ideological characteristics become harder to place, what becomes required in the encounter, with the space and objects therein, is a self-analysis and autonomous critical engagement of the totality of the apartment.
A playful engagement with subtle semantics is a metaphor about belonging. Mixing the contextual frames of art and the everyday points to a more personal framing in relation to identity and making home. A dialectic discourse on art becomes analogous to more prescient discourses that engage the fundamental changes in the nature of class, race, and gender in a crystallising system of world order. One that is diffracted in multiple directions between free global movement and isolationist elements that seeks to lock down borders and traditional categories of separation. In this way, Wilson and Collier’s use of the flag motif is literally a symbol of colonisation, a dominant sign of territory and ideology, where nationalistic values tend to coincide with regressive beliefs rather than progressive idealism.
From a disciplinary base of Painting, Puncture engages with both analogue and digital forms (through documentation) to articulate contemporary social relations to the image as a pervasive and penetrating force embedded within everyday life. Borrowing from Guy Debord’s premise that everyday life has literally been colonised by social relations mediated by images, Wilson and Collier develop situations that can yield a collective praxis, something that exceeds both commodity and power by utilising the work’s presentation as a strategic terrain to develop a shared community action that sits outside a normal art exhibition context. Rather than see production as a form of labour that must be compensated, this project employs the notion of Potlach (the gift) to acknowledge the labour of viewing as an expenditure of time and effort wherein the consumer is also actively producing their own story as identity.
Joe Wilson (Australia) is in residence with Chanelle Collier at the Onslow Storrier Studio for a three month period at the International Cite des Arts (CIA). Awarded through the National Art School, Sydney, Australia, this project was assisted by a grant from Create NSW, an agency of the New South Wales Government. The NSW Artists' Grant is administered by the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA).